I've created a homebrew subclass based on Noelle from Genshin Impact. I don't know if this is where I should ask but can i get a honest review/feedback with some balancing tips?

The goal of this subclass is to be the absolute frontline of the party, with your aura you protect surrounding allies from as much damage as you can while you get an 'earthern shield' to compensate for the extra incomming damage on the paladin. This subclass is designed to work around your constitution, so strength or charisma will not be the main focus. Meaning your damage will not be as much as other paladins. this is what I've thought would be a fun kit to work with:

Oath of the Earthern Protector:

Oath Spells:
You gain oath spells at the paladin levels listed.

paladin level spells
3rd shield, protection from evil and good
5th aid, prayer of healing
9th beacon of hope, life transference
13th Guardian of Faith, aura of life
17th mass cure wounds, skill empowerment

Channel divinity: When you take this oath at 3rd level, you gain the following two Channel Divinity options. See the Sacred Oath class feature for how Channel Divinity works.

  • Devotion: When an ally (excluding you) within 60 ft. takes damage that would reduce its health below 1 hit point, you can use your channel divinity as a reaction to give that ally temporary health to absorb the hit for them. This temporary health equals four times your constitution modifier + your paladin level and will stay until the end of the ally's next turn.

  • Inspiring Smite: Immediately after you deal damage to a creature with your Divine Smite feature, you can use your channel divinity as a bonus action to distribute temporary hit points to creatures of your choice within 30 feet of you, which can includes you. The total number of temporary hit points equals 2d8 + your level in this class, divided among the chosen creatures however you like. {This is similar to the Oath of Glory}.

3rd level: Earthern Breastplate: You can use your bonus action to guard yourself with a layer of transparant protective earth that surrounds you like a bubble for 1 minute.
Upon activating this skill, you deal damage to enemies within 5 ft. equal to your constitution modifier. You then gain temporary health equal to twice your level in this class + your constitution modifier.

While you have this temporary health, your attacks inspire your allies to keep fighting. Once per turn, when you hit an enemy, you and up to 3 allies you choose within 30 ft. will be healed for 1d6+ your constitution modifier.

You can use this feature a number of times equal to your Proficiency bonus. You regain your expended uses when you finish a short or long rest.

5th level:
Whirlwind Attack:
You can use your action to make melee attacks against any number of creatures within your reach, with a separate attack roll for each target.

7th level:
Aura of warding:
While an ally is within 10 feet of you, it has resistance to all damage. Also, each time it takes damage, you take the same amount of damage. At 18th level, the range of this aura increases to 30 feet.

15th level: {Name TBD}
When your breastplate expires due to its duration or is broken by damage from a hostile creature, the shield will shatter, scattering sharp pieces of earth in all directions, all creatures within 10 feet must make a dexterity saving throw equal to 8 + your strength modifier + proficiency bonus. taking four times your strength modifier on a failed save, or half as much on a succesful save.

20th level: Sweeping time
As a bonus action, you can call upon the power of the earth to guide your strikes in battle for 1 minute, gaining the following benefits: - your weapon gains a reach of 15 ft. - your weapon attacks will deal extra damage equals your constitution modifier. - the healing from earthern breastplate can now occur twice per turn.

Once you use this feature, you cannot do so again until you finish a long rest.

  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ Is your 5th level feature intended to replace the base class extra attack feature? Or add to it? Published subclasses don't have any additional feature at level 5. \$\endgroup\$
    – SeriousBri
    Jan 25, 2021 at 11:50
  • 5
    \$\begingroup\$ Also is earthen respite intended to be a channel divinity option? Or just a new feature? Again published subclasses don't have a free 3rd level ability like this. \$\endgroup\$
    – SeriousBri
    Jan 25, 2021 at 11:53
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @KorvinStarmast guess they are partially answers, but I was hopeful of getting the OP's thoughts rather than them seeming like answers. Would edit the answer parts out if it wasn't too late. \$\endgroup\$
    – SeriousBri
    Jan 25, 2021 at 14:41
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ It should open soon, there are 4 RO votes, and this does look like it is answerable based on a side by side comparison with current Paladin oaths. \$\endgroup\$ Jan 25, 2021 at 14:46
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Devotion needs clarification. Does the multiplication happen before or after the addition? The use of parenthesis would suffice. \$\endgroup\$
    – ValhallaGH
    Jan 25, 2021 at 15:54

2 Answers 2


Definitely not balanced

The primary thing here is that you have too many features compared to the published oaths. A standard oath should gain spells and channel divinity options at level 3, then additional features at 7, 15 and 20.

You have extra features at level 3 (Earthen breastplate) and 5 (Whirlwind attack). This makes it hard to comment on too much because your higher level powers are keying off a power you should not have.

As for the abilities themselves

Oath spells

The shield spell is a very powerful spell in the hands of a heavy armour wearing character, so much so that I never run a Paladin without a multi-class into Hexblade (which has many other boons, but access to the shield spell is the primary motivation).

The other spells have no significant balance issues that I can see, and seem reasonably on theme. If anything at level 17 mass cure wounds is pretty poor, and skill empowerment is a terrible spell at any level, but having to get to level 17 to have some poor spells that balance out the awesome shield isn't really something I would count as balancing.

Channel divinity: Devotion

The wording on this needs to be updated to clarify exactly how it works. I suspect that you mean to grant these temp HP just before the final blow lands in an attempt to save the character from going unconscious. That would mean the temp HP are immediately eaten into by the blow, and could still not prevent the character from going unconscious.

Overall this isn't bad if you intend on using it as I expect.

Channel divinity: Inspiring smite

Taken straight from the Oath of Glory this is fine.

Aura of warding

When I first read this I baulked, but then I realised the damage isn't actually resisted, but it works like you taking 50% and the other character taking 50%. I think this is actually incredibly dangerous, because when you get to a high level you will be taking damage from something like meteor swarm multiple times!

If you want to keep this ability, maybe keep it to melee attacks so that an AoE spell doesn't completely overwhelm you.

That said I don't think it meshes well with the theme you stated, because this works best with you hiding behind your companions and aiding them to be better tanks, it doesn't help you soak damage or perform your intended role in any way.

<unnamed 15th level ability>

This is the point where I would be telling you how broken your third level ability is (aside from the fact that it should not exist). The temporary hitpoints are too high in my opinion (look at the spell armour of agathys or the shepherd circle druids bear spirit totem feature for comparison, which is less temp hp), and adding a healing effect similar to mass healing word (a 3rd level spell) whenever you hit someone just makes it worse.

Gaining temp HP is reasonable, but you need to balance the numbers better. Maybe level + CON mod temp HP for yourself, and just CON mod healing to others might be a better option, but that is just conjecture and the only real method to balance this kind of ability is playtesting.

Sweeping time

Again this is an ability keying off a power that you should not have, but once you fix the earthen breastplate feature this feature isn't too bad. I do find the increased reach a little odd, but power wise it is ok.

Additional thoughts

A second reading of your question makes me think that you might have added the extraneous 3rd level ability to try and balance out the incoming damage from your aura of warding. This would still leave you having to deal with whirlwind attack (I expect you are meaning this to be granted instead of the standard paladin level 5 extra attack, but that is mixing oaths and core abilities which will give multiclassing headaches), but I can see what you are aiming for.

That said if you are balancing as I believe you really need to make them both appear at the same time, otherwise you are unbalanced at 3-7, then come into whatever balance may be achieved. Also consider that most games struggle to reach level 7 you will end up being overpowered for a lot of your career.

What you could do is stop aura of warding from being an aura, and have it be an active ability which gives you and your allies the temp hp, but tethers you together where you take 50% of all incoming damage. I don't know how to balance it, because it is very different to any existing feature I can think of, but I would look into this methodology if you come to make a second version of this homebrew.

I don't know Noelle or Genshin Impact so I don't know how the theme actually works fully, but being frontline to me means taking most of the damage, and your powers are more about spreading it, and then the reach seems a little strange, so that is something to potentially consider too.

And finally while most of the powers use the CON modifier, it isn't the defining feature of those powers (for example when using paladin level + con mod the con mod quickly becomes just a minor bonus) so this oath would not encourage me to 'around your constitution, so strength or charisma will not be the main focus'. I would still be aiming at 14-16 CON in the way I would normally. If you had considered that as a balance concern, I think you have missed the mark and need to embed the CON modifier more importantly into the powers (maybe use things CON mod x per long rest as an example).

  • \$\begingroup\$ You make some valid points, together with the other commenter underneath you. what if i were to remove whirlwind attack and the aura, then make the 3rd level skill earthern breastplate to only be unlocked at level 7. i should then also reduce the range of sweeping time. remove the 1d6 from the healing and fix the wording on devotion. is that a good step in the right direction? \$\endgroup\$ Jan 25, 2021 at 17:28
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Tango_The_Bee I think that is a good step, brings it into line with how powers are distributed at least, though balance is still likely tricky with any damage sharing idea. As for reducing the range, it isn't a balance issue, just sounds odd to me, so if it is a power that Noelle has there is no issue keeping it, but if you drop it you will need to give that power a slight buff to compensate, the level 20 powers are usually really good. \$\endgroup\$
    – SeriousBri
    Jan 25, 2021 at 17:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ Is it recommended to edit my post to show the changes i've made with your feedback? or is there a better way to keep you up to date for more feedback? BTW i'm very thankful for the time and effort you're putting into reviewing the sublass i'm trying to make for my character. \$\endgroup\$ Jan 25, 2021 at 18:05
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Tango_The_Bee the recommendation is to go and redesign a new version of your subclass using the advice given here, then playtest it, and then come back with another question. Don't update this question though because it will just invalidate all the answers and look really confusing as time goes on. I would suggest in your next version of the question adding your own thoughts, on why your changes address the comments here, otherwise you might attract downvotes on your question again. \$\endgroup\$
    – SeriousBri
    Jan 25, 2021 at 18:41

This oath is not balanced with the official Oath options

Let's start with looking at the official oaths available and their features:

  • Oath spells: mix of paladin and non-paladin spells.
  • Channel divinity: two options, usually one situational and one more regular.
  • An aura (usually) at 7th level: either strong if prior features are lackluster (see Oath of the Ancients) or situational otherwise (see Oath of Vengeance). If it is an aura, it grows to 30 feet at level 18.
  • A relatively strong subclass defining ability at level 15.
  • A level 20 capstone: strong transformation for 1 minute, either as an action (see older oaths) or a bonus action (see newer oaths).

Now your Oath:

Oath spells

Nothing to complain about, unlike many homebrew Oath, you actually included spells that are already in the Paladin spells list as you should. Moving on.

Channel divinity

Devotion: do you mean Temporary Hit Points? If so, you should mention that those THP are applied before the damage is dealt. Otherwise it should say that the damage is reduced by an amount equal to X, for a resulting damage with a minimum of 0. Nitpicking, but similar abilities (see Abjuration Wizard) usually use two times Ability Score Modifier + Class level instead of four times.

Inspiring Smite: by definition balanced with official oaths since it is from an official oath.

Both options are strong and not exactly situational (as both situations are expected to happen on any given adventuring day). It makes for a strong, but not overpowered, start to the oath.

3rd level: Earthern Breastplate

First major infraction. Paladin oaths do not get an additional feature at third level. Anything that you could have written here that is not fluff (such as an extra proficiency) or mechanically irrelevant is going to make the oath way stronger than others.

5th level: Whirlwind Attack

See above. No other oath gets something extra at level 5 (which is already a huge power bump for the class).

If your intention was to replaced the Extra Attack feature, this new feature is much stronger. Attacking every target within your reach (up to 24 targets with a Reach weapon, 48 if you are a Bugbear) is not only offering a large scale offensive option to the Paladin (unheard of for the class before level 17th), it is equivalent to a Wizard's Fireball, without spending resources.

7th level: Aura of warding

Seems really strong, but it is hard to quantify the negative aspect on the Paladin.

15th level: {Name TBD}

Assuming the Earthern Breastplate becomes a Channel Divinity, this seems balanced. Do note that this affects your ally and yourself.

20th level: Sweeping time

I would call this balanced, as long as Whirlwind Attack is no longer part of this oath.

How to make it closer to a balanced oath

  • I would suggest choosing two of the following three and putting them as the Channel Divinity options: Devotion, Inspiring Smite, Earthen Breastplate (only once per short rest).
  • Get rid of Whirlwind Attack.
  • Playtest the level 7 feature to see how it actually plays out.

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